Women spend an extraordinary amount of money on cosmetics--$45 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Now in its fourth edition, Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me
strikes fear in cosmetics-counter consultants everywhere. First off, Begoun has deconstructed ingredient lists. Ever wonder what methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben are doing in your mascara? And what is diazolidinyl urea? All four are potential irritants, and the latter is a preservative that can release formaldehyde, a class A carcinogen. Buyer beware.
Begoun also lists which companies are cruelty-free and which continue to conduct animal testing. The majority of the book--and that's nearly 800 pages--is devoted to reviews of thousands of cosmetics, from cleansers, foundations, alpha-hydroxy acids, and moisturizers to lip liners, eye shadows, and concealers, all of which Begoun has personally tested. (There are no hair care products listed, as that warrants another book entirely: Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me.)
She's perfectly frank and tells it like it is. (On Revlon's ColorStay Makeup: "goes far beyond the claim of 'It won't come off on him.' It won't come off when you want it to.") You'll learn how to tell when you're being boondoggled by a salesperson, what's overpriced and overhyped, as well as what's overlooked. More than 200 brands are included, along with a helpful summary at the end that lists the best products for each cosmetic category. It should be noted that not only is Begoun a fine consumer advocate, she's also a self-esteem advocate: she mentions time and again that even the best cosmetics won't necessarily improve your life, and that's a point well taken.
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About the Author
PAULA BEGOUN (Seattle) has been reporting on the beauty industry for more than 25 years. Her unique angle on the cosmetics industry has earned her nicknames such as "The Ralph Nader of Rouge" and the "Cosmetics Cop." She is an internationally recognized authority as a consumer advocate for the cosmetics and hair-care industries and appears regularly on television and radio and in magazines. Begoun has a syndicated column with Knight-Ridder News Tribune Service and has appeared on CNN, Oprah, 20/20, ABC's Primetime, Dateline NBC, the View, the Today Show, CBS This Morning and Good Morning America.